Brain activity during stimulation of the trigeminal nerve with noxious heat

Reny de Leeuw, C. Ervin Davis, Romulo Albuquerque, Charles R. Carlson, Anders H. Andersen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Objective: The aim of this study was to observe areas of brain activation with painful hot stimulation to the trigeminal nerve. Study design: Nine healthy pain-free women (mean age 26.2 ± 6.9 yrs) with a natural, regular menstrual cycle participated in the study. Whole-brain functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data were acquired for each participant on day 2 or 3 after the onset of menses using echo-planar imaging at 1.5T with near-isotropic spatial resolution and a temporal resolution of 4 s. Results: Whole-brain fMRI with a Peltier thermode inside the head coil yielded a feasible imaging protocol with little disturbance from the thermode. Painful thermal stimulation of the left trigeminal system activated discrete brain regions within the insula, cingulate gyrus, thalamus, inferior parietal lobe/postcentral gyrus, right middle and inferior frontal gyri, cuneus, precuneus, and precentral gyrus. Conclusion: Painful stimulation of the trigeminal nerve resulted in activation of similar brain areas generally known for pain processing of painful peripheral stimulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)750-757
Number of pages8
JournalOral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology, Oral Radiology and Endodontology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oral Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Dentistry (all)


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